Gay Marriage and the Follower of Jesus – Part Two

27 06 2015

About three years ago, when President Obama proclaimed his support of gay marriage, I wrote the post titled “Gay Marriage and the Follower of Jesus” which I recommend you read given the current circumstances of the U.S. Supreme Court decision.  Consider this post a continuation of that earlier post.  There are several things I want to tackle in this post.  I’m going to try to get to the root of some of the surface issues I see that those in Christ are dealing with.  So, buckle up, hold on tight, and enjoy the ride.

First, let’s establish the foundation of one simple fact.  If you know the Bible at all, there is a theme you should know: that this world is not our home.  In many instances in Scripture, we are told, reminded, and given examples of this truth.  Peter calls us sojourners and pilgrims in 1 Peter 2.  The writer of Hebrews says in Chapter 13 that we don’t have a continuing city, so we look for that one to come.  Chapter 11 of Hebrews gives the example of Abraham and other patriarchs who looked forward to a heavenly city, whose builder and maker is God.  James says in Chapter 4 of his letter that being a friend of the world is to make yourself an enemy of God.  Even Jesus himself said,

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you.” – John 15:19

There are surely more examples and Scriptures to point this out, but the point is that we are foreigners in a strange land, no matter where in the world you live.  If you are in Christ, you were once part of this world, but now you are a new creation in Christ and your home is not here but where Christ is.  If you’re in Christ, you will one day be reunited with your Master and He will destroy this world and make a new one where He will be ruler and where His followers will finally feel at home beyond anything they can imagine.  As it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

Next, with that in mind, let’s tackle the decision that was handed down by the Supreme Court.  Again, with our understanding of the Scriptures, we can clearly see that our convictions are much different than of those in this world.  We are called to be different.  I want to stress that being different from the world doesn’t just mean just being nice and going to church.  The “different” I mean is what the Bible mean by being different, as in: being chaste while the world has sex with whoever, whenever they want, speaking truth when the world lies, treating people equally when the world discriminates, honoring your spouse when the world divorces and commits adultery, respecting governmental authority when the world does and says what they want, and on and on it goes.  The list also includes honoring a man and woman in marriage as God had intended when the world decides for themselves what they want to do with marriage.

So, with the foundation of the fact that this world is not our home and we are strangers and the knowledge that we are to be different from the world, why are we is such turmoil over this decision?  How does it affect your ability to marry someone of the opposite gender?  Does it keep you from doing what God calls YOU to do? The Constitution of the United States is not your Bible.  Nor was it a divinely inspired document written by the finger of God.  Whether you believe the United States was or is a Christian nation is irrelevant.  The Scripture is God’s Word alone and if you read it you will find that there is no place on this earth that will perfectly honor God, that is, if you find one that honors Him at all.  No only that, but the book of Revelation tells of a time where everyone will be cursing the God who made them.  So, you might as well prepare for it.  If our Lord was killed by his own people, why would we think this world would embrace what we believe?

I will now make a statement that may have most Christians wanting to stone me.  If you can separate the U.S. Constitution from the Bible, the world from those in Christ, and the United States from your real home where Christ is, then the U.S. Supreme Court made the right decision.  WOAH!  WAIT!!  Before you click out of this blog, here me out!!  My purpose on this blog is to challenge Christians to honor God and live for Christ.  Give me a little more of your time and then you can believe what you want.  I will deal with some of the objections in a little bit.

Yes, homosexuality is sin!  No doubt about it. But the Bible and the Constitution are two different things.  You are not a follower of the United States or the Constitution.  If you are a Christian, you are a follower of Christ and your life is hidden in Him, not on the rise or fall of the United States or any of its’ documents.  The Constitution does not say “Homosexuals may never marry.”  Even if it did, the people would have a right to change it.  That’s the way it goes.  The Constitution is not a moral document, but a document of rules on governing.  Years ago, this was never an issue because homosexuality was considered bad culturally, not just religiously.  Yet, so was abortion until the 1960’s.  Now, you hardly hear about abortion because it’s the norm.

I am not here to argue why or how the Supreme Court made the decision.  The point is: Homosexuality is sin, but the U.S. Constitution does not care about sin.  Do not put your faith in what the United States was or is, follow Christ.

Lastly, let’s consider what our response should be.  Here I will also deal with some objections and arguments that I have seen.

What should be our response?  Well, what should be our response to other sins?  How do you respond to atheists who marry?  Or better yet, how do you respond to Christians who divorce?  How do you respond to the pastor who preaches about giving and drives a relatively new BMW?

How do we respond?  Well, how did Jesus respond to the woman caught in adultery?  How did He responded to the tax collectors, sinners, and prostitutes of his day?  Well, He simply treated them as humans beings and told them the truth of what they were doing was wrong in the sight of God and, if they repented and followed Him, they would have eternal life.  He also made it clear that if they didn’t repent, they would face the judgement of God for their sin.  So, why should we do anything else than what our Master did?

I don’t recall Jesus or any others in the New Testament making it an aim to make Rome change or keep laws to reflect their beliefs.  Instead of making laws, the focus was on making disciples by telling them the truths of the Gospel so that God could regenerate their hearts.  Our job as Christians is not to make everyone do what we would like, but to point them to God so that God can change them.  If you think it’s about legislating morality, you need to remember where YOU came from.

Paul says in 2nd Timothy 4 to

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and teaching.”

Our job is not to keep people from sinning.  That is impossible and doesn’t deal with the heart.  Our job is to tell people what God says is sin and that they will have to deal with Him.  They don’t have to deal with us, but with a God that they have deeply offended and they will one day face the wrath of.  But, not only homosexuals are in trouble with God.  A quick reading of the first few chapters of the book of Romans will clearly reveal that EVERYBODY on the face of this earth is in the same situation.  Nobody is exempt from God’s wrath.  Homosexuals and liars will be in the same hell.  Adulterers and fornicators, idolators and the covetous, murderers and haters, Muslims and false Christians, among others, will all face the wrath of a holy and just God. It’s our job to tell them the truth.

But, some may say, homosexuality is worse than other sins.  I’ve recently seen an article from a prominent ministry that made this claim.  Really?  Where does it say that in Scripture?  The only way you can make that claim is to twist scripture and rationalize your way through it.  If you quote to me the scripture that tells me it’s an abomination to God, then you better have as much fervor for lying, shedding innocent blood, or eating lobster, shrimp, or pork as you have for gay marriage.

And why is it all about gay marriage?  Why is it okay for atheists to get married?  They don’t even think a god exists.  Is God cool with homosexuals unless they get married?  I know these are silly questions, but why is homosexual marriage singled out.  There have even been instances of people being okay with baking cakes for homosexuals unless it is found out that it’s for the homosexual wedding.  Really?  Where are our priorities and consistency?  Isn’t it the homosexuality that’s sin?

Some may argue that it’s because it’s about the “sanity sanctity of marriage”.  Who decided marriage is originally between a man and a woman?  God, right?  Do they know and care about what God says?  No.  Do you?  If you say yes, then go and marry the opposite sex.  Simple as that.  Do you believe in the sanctity of marriage?  Then YOU keep it sanctified.  Do not think that sinners in opposition to God want to keep something God honoring.  Why not live out what you believe the Bible says and be a light to this dark world, instead of trying to make people submit to what they don’t believe or want.  In the Old Testament, God warned the children of Israel to not worship the idols or do the things that the other nations did, but He didn’t say go and make the other nations to the things they did.

One last argument I’ve heard is that this opens the door for other sins like bestiality and pedophilia to become legal.  Okay.  If it does, what are you going to do about it?  Don’t do those things!  Don’t do what the pagans do.  Do what God says, say what God says, and don’t expect others to care about what God says.

Only God can change the hearts of people.  But, God made the start of the process for us to proclaim His Word, not our opinions.  You can’t share with a homosexual a scripture that says homosexual marriage is sin, but you can share with him that their homosexuality, along with their lust, pride, lying, taking God’s name in vain, etc. is sin.  Once you share what God’s says, then He can convict their hearts and produce change.  It’s amazing.  That way He get all the glory, not us.

Brothers and sisters, I’m afraid that persecution is coming, but not for the right reasons.  I’ve seen the websites and Facebook posts worrying about the looming persecution for Pastors and other Christians that speak against homosexual marriage.  Yes, I guess I can see it coming, too.  But, why should it be this way?  Homosexuals are not condemned because they get married.  They are condemned despite their perversion.  They are condemned because they have lied, hated, lusted, had wrong ideas about God, stolen, have broken the Sabbath, had sex out of wedlock, divorced, called people names, have been prideful, covetous, envious, bitter, untrustworthy, unthankful, drunkards, and selfish, among many other things, just as the rest of mankind, even you and I.  It would be better if we followed in the footsteps of our Lord and those that walked in His footsteps and would get persecuted for speaking the truth about all of these wicked things that God speaks about, than to be singled out because of a stance we have on a secondary action that a certain group of sinners do.  If we keep our focus on it like we are, we deserve the persecution.

To conclude, I write these things to somehow help and challenge us.  My heart breaks over what we do in the name of Christ and what we’ve become as a “Church”.  We uproar about homosexuals marrying because marriage was God’s idea.  Yet, we let divorce happen in the Church for foolish reasons about just as much as it happens in the world.  Is God happy with this?

Personally, I will treat a homosexual as a real person, like Jesus did to prostitutes.  Yes, I make that analogy because prostitutes were highly frowned upon in those days, yet He ate with them and taught them the truth.  I also will tell them the truth as I should with everyone.  I will not tell them the truth just because they are homosexual and they need it more than others nor because they are married.  Everybody needs the truth.  If someone rejects the truth, I can also do what Jesus did and let them alone to their destruction.  Jesus did not beg others to believe and even left when He was asked to leave (Luke8:37).

I’m not a Pastor, so most that I talk to don’t think much of what I say.  That’s okay because nobody is accountable to me.  They (and you) are all accountable to God.  I know I will be accountable for what I have said and done.  Don’t even take my word for it.  Don’t take a Pastor’s or anybody’s word for it.  Get into your Bibles and read the examples of Jesus and the Apostles and what they said yourself.  There you will find ultimate truth.  There you will find ultimate freedom.  There you will find ultimate life.

Jesus said to follow Him!





Fifty Shades of…Bestselling Women’s Suffering?

21 02 2015

I write this out of the “Shake My Head” file. I have not watched and have no intention or desire to watch “Fifty Shade of Gray”.  I have never nor will I ever read the book.  So, as a disclaimer, I have no idea of all the details of the book or the movie.  I do, however, know just enough to know that some people who criticize it seem to not have a clue about it.

This is by no means a post condoning the book or the movie.  As with most of this world’s ideas, the idea of sex and relationships as portrayed in the book and movie, as with most books and movies, even Christian ones, are in contradiction to the Scriptures.  “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God because it is stupid to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually understood.” (1 Cor 2:14)   With that in mind, I can understand bringing up 50SoG in Christian culture to bring it to light.   Yet, the reasons that it is not approved make no sense.

The reasons not to watch it that I have heard about it in the pulpit or other areas of Christian culture is not because it does not portray sex outside of marriage as sin, or a wrong depiction of sexuality, or even that it’s based off of women’s porn a romance novel.  No, the reason it’s a bad movie is….it’s advocating bad things about women.  I guess, It not only demoralizes them, but the movie also advocates violence against them.

Okay…so, let me get this straight. (Mind you, I only know about 50SoG what the media, people I’ve talked to, and Wikipedia have told me.)  This WOMAN decides to write a book about this WOMAN who WILLFULLY DECIDES to get into a BDSM relationship/contract with some rich guy.  Not only that, but it is a best selling ROMANCE NOVEL among WOMEN.  So bestselling that it sold 100 million copies and has been translated into 52 languages.  Evidently, the woman who wrote it and the millions of women who bought and read it must not think it is too violent or demoralizing.  Else, why would so many women advocate violence against and dehumanize themselves?

I don’t advocate the books or movie to any Christian woman.  I would hope it’s not even a consideration.  But if you do read or watch it, I would hope you’re not so much a hypocrite to demand your boyfriend or husband not to watch and enjoy something with barely clothed women on it.  What is the difference between you and him?  What is the difference between his porn and your romance novels?  It reminds me of a time when I saw a Christian woman comment on how “Magic Mike” was “eye candy” when she had seen it.  I can see the reaction of Christian women if they caught their husbands with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Anyway, we should tell people to not read the book or watch the movie based on what Scripture says, not based on worldly mentality.  There are several other reasons to not read or watch it beside that it’s “harmful to women”.  It’s not all about women.  If you want to criticize it, speak of the spiritual and sinful issues about it.  Dealing with this kind of reminds me of how Christians are taught not to have sex before marriage because it will lead to low self-esteem, unwanted pregnancy, and sex in marriage will not be as special.  It totally disregards anything that should be said because GOD said it.  Take for instance:

“Do not let fornication, sexual impurity, all uncleanness, or covetous even be named among you, as is fitting for saints.  For you may be sure of this, that no fornicator, unclean person, or covetous man, who is an idolator, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. “

But, instead, psychology is used.  “You don’t want to feel bad for not giving all of yourself to your spouse”  Thus, keeping that Scripture fulfilled, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

If psychology and feelings-based opinions are used instead of the black-and-white truths from Scripture, people will just be left with 50 shades of gray, giving them the ability to do what is right in their own eyes.

Jesus said to follow Him!





Letting It All Hang Out

1 01 2015

I hate New Year’s resolutions and I never make any.  No, wait…I was wrong.  I made a resolution a few years ago that I won’t make anymore resolutions.  Well, I’m about to break that resolution.  Unless, I call it something else.  Hmmm.

My resolution plan for this blog in 2015 – to let it all hang out.

What does that mean?  I had some definition in mind, but wanted to confirm it before I made it the title of this blog in case it meant something, um, indecent.  But, this fits perfectly: “Be totally candid in expressing feelings and opinions; hold nothing back. To do something enthusiastically and without fear of the results.”

I realize I only wrote one blog post last year.  That’s pretty pathetic, I know.  There were several factors in that weak attempt at being a blogger.  I did work a lot this past year which limited my time tremendously.  I was also mainly limited to a desktop computer which also requires a substantial amount of time on my part because I’m, at least to me, a horribly slow thinker and need a bit of time to think about what I want to say.  I have recently acquired a decent tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard to hopefully make my blogging more portable and easier to type so that I can do it more efficiently, instead of try to set aside a big chunk of time to write a post.

What could’ve been the main reason, I’m afraid and hate to say it, is fear.  I’m not even sure if that is the right word or not.  It seems too strong of a word, but I can’t think of any others to use.

These past few years have really been life-changing for my faith.  You can read about it in some of my previous posts.  Between life events, church, the actions of fellow believers, other blogs I’ve read, culture, and, hopefully, a better understanding of the Bible, my faith has changed dramatically.  Thus, I started this blog a couple of years ago to write down my thoughts and understanding on certain subjects.  I was surprised to find that an ex-pastor, now atheist, had better biblical theology and understanding than many Christians.  I wrote a few times about the obsessions Christian have with singling out homosexuality.  I wrote about how, even though many Christians want to constantly rip on President Obama, if the Bible is true, God put him there.  There are many other things I posted about.  The point of the posts were to try and encourage others to live out the faith they claim to have.  But, when looking back, I only scratched the surface.  I was being too “safe”.

I found myself, especially this past year, thinking of things to write about.  I would think about what I wanted to write at times, but then thinking about who would read it, dealing with reactions to what I wrote, along with the lack of time because of working a lot, pushed those things out of my head.  But, even while I hardly wrote anything this past year, I still learned quite a bit.  That’s why, hopefully, I am coming back to blog this year with a new drive…a drive to challenge Christians to understand and live out their faith.

There was a phrase that I wrote down years ago that I still hold to – “Communication is key”  I thoroughly believe that with proper communication and understanding, the level of accomplishment can be tremendous.  Unfortunately, it seems that very few can do so without succumbing to insults, arrogance, or emotional distraught.  When talking to someone about views different that what the majority believe, there is hardly any room for any adult conversation and debate.  It is either they insult you, either openly or as side jokes, they say, “Well, I believe…” without giving any proper argument for why, except that their pastor said so or they give some verse out of context and won’t listen to any sort of rebuttal, or they just go into some kind of dramatic emotional psycho-state that makes it all about them.

I am hoping to blog more about the things I have learned in my journey of faith and communicate them to you.  I will get deep.  I will say things that are not widely embraced.  I will be going against the contemporary flow.  I am not concerned about what people think of me.  I am concerned about truth and I am concerned with what we do with that truth.  If you disagree, you can join me in an adult discussion and debate so that we may encourage each other.  I may be wrong in what I say here, or you may be wrong in refuting me, but if any of us has the attitude to prove that one of us is right, we are missing the point.  Neither of us is right, God is.  Until we humble ourselves and realize that “God is true and every man a liar”, we will not be one Body in Christ*.  Heb 3:13 – “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

Remember, it’s not about us, it’s about Him.  It’s not about getting all the answers right, but seeking out the right answers so that we can live them out together to glorify God.

Jesus said to follow Him!

 

* Do not think I’m getting all ecumenical.  There are major differences in some Christian “faiths” that are false and heretical and cannot be reconciled with.  But, there are also many minor things that Christians divide over that should not divide us.





World Vision: After the dust has settled

14 04 2014

A few weeks ago, the Christian community was rocked by the news that World Vision, an organization that helps third-world children and adults with basic needs and Christian teaching, changed their policy to allow the hiring of homosexuals, along with married homosexuals, into their organization.  This instantly caused many to withdraw their financial support until two days later, when World Vision reversed their decision due to the backlash from supporters.

While this may be old news to many, the arguments for and against that I’ve seen and heard have been basically the same.  One the one side, there are many Christians that just can’t believe World VIsion would do such a thing as to hire those that are in open sin into their organization and can’t see themselves supporting such a “ministry”.  On the other side, there are those that think this is a good way to show people that Christians can love everyboby, even homosexuals, and, besides, how can someone just take away their support and leave these children without basic needs?

After the dust has settled and the arguments are basically over, I guess my question is:  Is that really what this is about?  Let consider something a little more deeper.

If you’ve read my past post about gay marriage, you know that I cannot deny that homosexuality is a sin.  There is no doubt about it.  The Bible says it.  However, there are so many Christians that want to single that out as a sin that seems worse than any plague this world has ever known.  It’s as if it is one of the top five most horrible sins ever in the history of mankind, right up there with trying to take “God” out of the pledge of allegience, as if making sure these things don’t happen will win everybody over to Christ.  On the contrary, all it seems some Christian are trying to do is to keep their life from getting a little uncomfortable.

So why all the reaction against homosexuality?  Is it just a traditional reaction?  Are some just trying not to be uncomfortable?  Is it because we’ve never had to deal with it and don’t want to?

I read an interesting blog post earlier this month where the author spoke about how so many were withdrawing their support from World Vision because they felt that homosexuals shouldn’t be involved in a ministry like that. Yet. the author also pointed out that there are many in churches today that are unbiblically divorced, and some remarried, and, therefore, by Jesus’ words are adulterers, that are in ministries, even marriage ministries, but Christians hardly consider it an issue, even within the author’s own church. This is only one of many  examples, however, of how some blatant sins are winked at, that are “covered with grace”, but for some there seems to hardly be a shred of grace for.

Why are we letting some sins go and some we are so adamitly against.  Where is the balance?  Where is truth?

So why shouldn’t homosexuals be able to get married?  Why is it such a big issue?  All homosexuals see is that Christians think they shouldn’t be able to do what you can do because they are not you.  As you preach love, you come across to them as selfish and unloving.  And for what?

When I read the Bible, I see Jesus eat with and talking to sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, Samaritans…you know, the scum of the earth in those days.  He was speaking truth to them about God, life, their own sin, and who He was.  He was not condoning their sin, but He was not keeping them from doing it either.  He told them the truth and let them decide if they wanted to follow Him or go their own way.  The ones that I see Jesus condemning are the Pharisees, the ones that twisted God’s commands to suit themselves, laid heavy burdens on people that they couldn’t carry, and wondered how anyone like Jesus could eat with tax collectors and sinners.

So why make a big deal about homosexuality and gay marriage?  Why try to make sinners not sin?  Why not make a big deal about dealing with the ridiculous divorce rate in churches, the false teachers that influence Christian culture, encouraging one another to live holy, blameless lives, and being a part of the worldwide Body of Christ by reflecting Him in this lost world?

As far as World Vision, there seems to be an issue not being discussed about it. World Vision is considered a Christian organization and is considered to be teaching Christian values to these children. It is supposed to be more that just sponsoring a child to keep them fed and clothed. If that is all it is, there are plenty of secular and even “religious” organizations that will feed and clothes men, women, and children all the way up until they die and go to hell because they do not teach Christ. Yet, World Vision says that they not only feed and clothe them, but also teach the children about Christ. Now, if you have a Christian organization that is teaching children about Christ and His teaching and practically endorsing open sin by having not only homosexuals, but also married homosexuals, they are distorting Christ and his teaching. While it sounds great that the children would learn how loving Christians can be toward everybody, no matter what the sin, they would also learn that homosexuals can be Christians and Christians think being homosexual is fine, when in actuality, it’s not. It’s sin that Jesus does not endorse.

I do not say this just because it’s homosexuality. No, I think the Christian culture is a bit hyper-political about it. However, if World Vision were to announce that they changed their policy to hire  people in other relationships while still married (adulterers), people who happily engage in premarital sex, Muslims (remember it’s a Christian org teaching Christ), people who openly use God’s name as a curse word (blaspheme), or people who frequently get drunk, I would not hesitate to revoke all sponsorship that I may have with them and encourage others to do the same. It’s not the issue of is it okay to hire homosexuals, it’s the issue of how are the people being helped going to take it when they realize that the Jesus World Vision represents is not the total Jesus of the Bible.

There has to be a balance.  I can see where people are at that want to emiphasis the truth of homosexuality being a sin.  I can see where people are at that want to show the love of Christ.  But, those are one and the same in Christ.  He is full of truth AND grace and we are his representatives.

If the point is to just feed and clothe children, there are plenty organizations out there that will do it without putting Jesus’ name behind it.  That way, the children won’t realize that Christians are liars just so they’d get people in their club.

Jesus said to follow HIM!





The Primacy of Scripture

13 11 2013

Chris@QPC:

Ballista74 at “The Society of Phineas” has written a great post that adds more depth to my last post – “Obey God rather than men“. It was so good that I just had to reblog it.  I wouldn’t have minded calling it “Obey God rather than men – Part 1.5″

It is unfortunate how much weight we put into the words of men, from commentaries to books. It is even more unfortunate that there are those that cannot discern if what is being read is truth because they seem to have more knowledge in what an author says than what the Bible says.

Some of the reaction I have received at times from quoting Scripture to Christians has been anywhere from calling me a “know-it-all” to saying something like, “I’m not sure what to think of that.”

My hope for you, dear reader, is that you take Scripture as the only source of truth. All forms of teaching, doctrine, and understanding are to be subject to it, whether it be preached from a pastor, written in a book, or in any other form. Also, that you may know His Word and that you may be able to discern and not be blown around with every wind of teaching.

Originally posted on The Society of Phineas:

It’s not an uncommon thing throughout history that men will look towards other men to follow rather than to follow God. It’s common spiritual principle that you become what you follow, and in the end following men only brings you the fruits of men.

This is true in person, but also extends to books – it is ever more popular today due to the ubiquitous availability of books and the ever beckoning money and fame that’s out there for those who are pleasing to men and want to scratch ears instead of present the true Gospel:

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears…

View original 1,267 more words





Obey God Rather Than Men

20 10 2013

SpurgeonDiscernment

Acts 5:27-29 – “And when they had brought them, they set [them] before the council.  And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

We seem to have a “he said, she said” issue in American Christianity.  I am sure, though, it’s not just here in America.  Some might label me as a “Protestant” or even a “Reformed Protestant” (I hate labels….I’m a follower of Christ) and I tend to enjoy some of the writings of the great preachers and “reformers” of the past.  What they seemed to write and want to tell others seems so much more deeper and filled with truth than many of the things offered in our current place in time.

One of my favorite things to read is just about anything written or preached from Charles H. Spurgeon.  He was from England in the mid-1800’s and converted at the age of 15.  He became a pastor of a church at 17.  He then went on to lead a congregation of 6,000, have most of his sermons published in the local paper, help others into gospel ministry in his Pastor’s College, among many other things.  He is a joy to read.  He spoke truth simply and with conviction and humility.

However, he is not God.  His words have not become God’s Word.

There are those of you that are of other parts of Christianity.  You may not consider yourself “Protestant”.  Maybe you’re Catholic or Orthodox and enjoy reading some of the writings of the “saints”.  (I put quotes because I know my non-protestant brethren would call Augustine – Saint Augustine.  I have read some of his work as well in study.)

However, they are not God.  Their words have not become God’s Word.

What do I mean by that?  Just as today, if Pastor so-and-so says something, it doesn’t mean it’s true.  How do you know it’s true?  Does what he say line up with what the Bible says or is he trying to grab verses out of context to conform them to what he’s saying?  If God’s Word is truth, everything else anyone says must be subject to it.  What if what he says is not according to the Bible?  What if he writes a book and someone reads it 200 years from now.  Does it make it truth 200 years from now just because it’s old?

As I said, I love reading the writings of Charles Spurgeon.  However, I need to know what the Bible says for myself so that I can discern if what he has written is true. Spurgeon’s words should compliment the Bible and help us to understand it.  They do not become truth just because he quotes a verse or two and says, “This is what it means”.

A great biblical example of this is the preaching of Paul.  Imagine, if you will, sitting in a room filled with other people hearing the words of the great Apostle Paul (or St. Paul).  He speaks with authority and seems to know the Scriptures inside and out.  But, are his words right just because he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about?  After he speaks, the group gets together to see if what Paul was saying was right.  They are known as the Bereans.

Acts 17:10-12 – “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.  Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.  Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.”

Can you imagine that?  They didn’t just take Paul’s word for it.  They looked it up for themselves.  For that reason they were given the title of being more noble for it.  What if we did the same?  What if we could discern what was truth and almost-truth?  Would we know when error was taught and would we speak against it?

Today, there is a problem with culture, psychology, and “worldly wisdom” being mixed in with the truth of Scripture.  I am sure that this is nothing new and has happened in much of Church history.  However, it is hurting the Church in so many ways in our day:

1.) The “Gospel” comes in so many flavors that many can’t discern the true from the false.

Having a hard time?  We have a gospel for that.  Diagnosed with a terminal illness? We have a gospel for that.  Need more money?  Need a spouse?  Need a divoece?  Need your husband to better?  We have a gospel for all of those, too.  You can hear preaching on just about anything you can think of.  How do you know which one is true?  One pastor says the more you give to his church, the more you or your family members, dead or alive, will be blessed.  How do you know that’s right?  Just because a pastor said it?  Somebody says all you need to do to go to Heaven is ask Jesus into your heart.  How do you know?  Where is that said?  What is the “good news”?  Is there any bad news?  Where do we find it?  Someone else states that God is all for you and if you just believe, you will have the life you’ve always wanted. Can someone please line that up with Scripture…the whole Scripture.  You can make a doctrine out of just about anything if you just take one verse out of its context.  What is taught most likely cannot be taught by one verse.  It has to line up with the rest of the Scriptures.

2.) Many hold on to certain “ism’s” (Calvinism, Preterism, Dispensationalism, etc.) so tightly, that they shun those they disagree with, though they may just not have proper understanding of such issues.

I may tend to agree with certain things because I see them in Scripture, but am I fully right?  Do I have perfect understanding?  Do we see clearly yet?  Even if I am right, does that give me reason to say those that don’t think I’m right are not Christians?  In some cases, yes, but there is a difference in denying concrete biblical doctrines and not understanding something that is not so clear.   There is a difference between denying that Jesus is the only way to God and denying that tongues is a prayer language.  One is concrete and shouldn’t ever be questionable, the other is questionable and could be debated until Jesus comes back and isn’t worth splitting the Body of Christ over.  That is what is supposed to be the wonderful dynamic of the Body of Christ.  We all have different backgrounds, traits, understandings, gifts, talents, struggles, strengths, and weaknesses and, yet, we use them together to build each other up.  At least, that would be the ideal.  However, the common practice is to think that someone else’s weakness or misunderstanding disqualifies them from the grace of Christ.  The thought becomes that because they don’t believe everything that I do on a certain subject, they are therefore “heretics” or “apostate” when nothing is said about it in Scripture, but someone may have spoken or written, even hundreds of years ago, that it was so.

3.) Biblical marriage roles are not understood or tossed out altogether

A leading, authoritative, and loving husband and a submissive, respectful wife is like sour milk to the world.  They cannot understand such a concept, nor should we expect them to.  However, this is what marriages within the Church should be like for that is what God in His Word calls us to in Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, and Collisions 3.  But, instead, we water it down or argue with it.  Our marriages, therefore, look hardly any different with the world.  Not only that, but the divorce rate among Christians is at about the same as the world.  How are we any different? How are we an example to the world?  It’s no wonder nobody wants to get married. It’s no wonder homosexuality is becoming more common.  What do they have else to look to for an example of what is right?

And the list can go on and on.

The point is in all of this is:  Where do we turn to for truth, to men or to God? Yes, I understand that God gives pastors and teachers to equip the Church for ministry (Eph 4:11-13).  However, not all pastors and teachers are correct, as Scripture clearly warns us of false teachers who will not spare the flock (Acts 20:28-30).  Not only that, but even those that seek to be true to the Word of God are not correct on everything.   So, it is also the job of the hearers to read the Scriptures for themselves to be able to judge all things.  That being said, nobody, including you and I, will ever be able to understand every little truth in Scripture.  That is where the Body comes in to encourage each other in what we know is true, not beat each other up over misunderstandings.  That is why God inspired the Apostle Paul to write Romans 14:1-15:7.  That is why we are called to be humble, not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought, and bearing with the weak if you think you are strong.

Finally, do not at all think that I am advocating an ecumenical-kumbaya-we’re-all-the-same attitude.  By no means.  If I thought that, I would be denying the very Word of God that I want to uphold.  There are certainly false teachers, false gospels, and false theology that must be refused and brought to light.  There are black-and-white issues that some want to make trivial.  We need to point to the Scriptures to make it known that they are not trivial.  However, there are also trivial things that some make into black-and-white issues that you cannot backup with Scripture.  How do you know if it’s black-and-white or trivial?  You can ask a godly friend or pastor, but ultimately you can ask God.  It is his Word and He knows perfectly, better than any man, what He meant by it.  He has given us the Holy Spirit to teach us His truth and lead us in it.  Trust in Him.

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

John 16:13-14 – “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

1 John 2:26-27 – “These things I have written to you concerning those who deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

Jesus said to follow Him.





Mothers are awesome, Fathers can do better

11 05 2013

No, I am not dead.  I am still blogging.  I’ve just been, well…quiet.

With Mother’s Day here and Father’s Day coming up soon, I just wanted to share and question some observations that that seem quite common in churches in this day and age.

I would not have believed it if not for hearing other people mention it in the blogosphere and then hearing it with my own ears last year.

Mothers Day in the U.S. (for those from someplace else) is a special day in May set aside to honor all mothers.  It is a Sunday that you can have on the calendar to intentionally plan to maybe visit her, spend time with her, talk to her on the phone, take her out to dinner, buy her a gift, tell her “I love you”, or whatever you would like to do to honor her.  To those that have been blessed with a “normal” mom, she raised you, changed your diapers, wiped your butt, kissed your boo-boos, put up with your crying and whining, among other things.  Mother’s Day is the day to give some appreciation for all she is doing or has done for you.

So it is in many churches today that we show appreciation to all mothers.  What is done to honor them depends on the church.  Some may give them flowers as they come in to the church.  Some may have all mothers stand and a little speech is given to thank them for all the wonderful things they do.  Some even spend that Sunday preaching a whole sermon about mothers.  Rightly so, for they deserve appreciation for what they do as mothers.  I feel sorry for those who did not grow up with a loving mother or father in their lives.

Fathers Day is a special day set aside in June to do the same thing for our fathers.  However, most really don’t care for flowers, so a day out fishing, a sporting event, dinner, a gift card to the home improvement store might fit them a little better.  After all, he may have had to do some of the things I mentioned above about mothers, like wipe your butt and put up with your crying and whining.  Whatever you do, take time to honor him and return a little of the love that he has given to you if you’ve been privileged with a loving father in your life.

The problem I see, however, is that Fathers Day is much different in church than it is on Mothers Day.  While mothers get showered with love, thanks, and appreciation, as they should, Fathers Day gets a mention of that and then goes into how fathers can do better.  It doesn’t seem that bad on the surface because, frankly, mothers deserve appreciation and fathers can always do better.  However, the opposite, that fathers deserve appreciation and mothers can always do better, never seems to be said and when that becomes normal, as it has, fathers are seen as the only one with problems that need to be fixed.

While you may not see it, this is a major issue.  It is bad enough that the “battle of the sexes”, feminism, and gender “equality” rages on in our country (and probably in many countries).  I can deal with that…it’s the world.  I expect blatant disobedience to God in the world.  However, it is very disheartening to see it in the churches where the leadership of men is preached to the point of exhaustion, whether it be in sermons, books, or movies (think Fireproof and Courageous), but the submission of women is barely touched upon or mishmashed into “mutual” submission.  I am not here to get into this subject too deep in this post, but just wanted to touch on it since, to me and to others I have read, it seems that this happens on Mothers and Fathers Day as well.

So why do we do this?  Why does it seem perfectly fine to give so much praise for mothers on their day and not tell them to be better?  Why do we use Fathers Day to challenge fathers to be better?  Why do we tell mothers they are wonderful, but not tell them that they need to be better mothers and wives?  Why can’t we do the same for both on the respected days, either appreciate them and/or challenge them both?

Some of you will answer, “It is because men are called to be the leaders.”  Yes, and men can always be better leaders. They are not perfect and never will be.  Their wives are also called to submit to their husbands in everything (Eph 5:24).  Yet, we do not hear challenges on Mother’s Day for them on such things, even in parenting their children.

Some of you will say, “You are against women.  You are a legalist.  You don’t know the Bible.  Blah, Blah, Blah.  That is why you are writing these things.”  Nonsense!  I write this, and my whole blog, to challenge those stuck in Churchianity, those just going through the motions of church instead of what the bible says.  There are some things and traditions done in churches today that do more harm than good and we don’t even realize it.  We are to follow Jesus Christ.  He is the head of the Church and everything must be subject to what the Bible says.

So, I challenge you to pay attention to what is said in your church on these days.  If you are in a different country and have days like this, listen and see if it is the same as it is here in the U.S.  If your church doesn’t do the above things, good for you.  You are one the lucky ones, I guess.  Anyone else notice this before?  Comment about it.

No matter what is said in church, just make sure you appreciate your mother and father if you have one.  Don’t go to them and say, “Thanks for being my parents, but you could be better.”

Now, for all you mothers and fathers out there:  Thank you!  Thanks for being there for us and for all you have done for us.  Thank you for the sacrifices you had to endure for us.  Thank you for helping us with our homework, teaching us life skills, loving us, and laughing with us at our silliness.  You are not perfect and neither are we or will we be.  Let us forgive the faults and sins toward each other as Christ has also forgiven us.  If you are Christians, thank you for leading us in truth the best you could.  None of us are wonderful or awesome and we are called to be humble because He is the one that is wonderful, great, and awesome.  Thanks again.  We love you!

Jesus said to follow Him!








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